The South African new vehicle market continued its gradual recovery in November 2021. According to Naamsa, a total of 41 588 vehicles were sold last month, a gain of 553 units over the previous month and a 6.6% improvement over November 2020.
Passenger cars led this charge with a 9.4% year-on-year growth, supported by a resurgent rental car market, while the light commercial vehicle market declined by 0.8%. The medium and heavy commercial market segments grew by an encouraging 22.1% and 8.1% respectively.
84.2% of November’s vehicle sales took place through the dealer channels, and the rental market accounted for 11.5%, while government and corporate sales represented 2.4% and 1.9% respectively.
Sadly, vehicle exports plunged by 42.2% year-on-year, amounting to just 19 548 units in October, as supply chain disruptions and Europe’s fourth Covid-19 wave took effect. However, Naamsa expects the export market to resurge in 2022, as new locally-produced models such as the Mercedes C-Class, Ford Ranger and facelifted Volkswagen Polo come on stream, and international economic conditions improve.
Top-selling brands: November 2021
- Toyota – 11 619
- Volkswagen – 5458
- Suzuki – 3082
- Hyundai – 2843
- Nissan – 2328
- Ford – 2235
- Isuzu – 1712
- Renault – 2081
- Kia – 2062
- Haval – 1730
The Toyota Hilux was once again South Africa’s best-selling vehicle overall, with 2558 unit sales, and it was followed by the Volkswagen Polo (including sedan) at 1890 and the Toyota Hiace, at 1789.
What lies ahead for the market?
Looking ahead, Naamsa expects the recent travel bans imposed on South Africa due to the Omicron variant to put a damper on local rental vehicle sales, while the record-high fuel prices and anticipated further interest rate hikes will add further pressure to the domestic car market.
However, with year-to-date new vehicle sales up 24.8% versus 2020, overall market conditions are still improving, says WesBank marketing head Lebogang Gaoaketse.
“During 2020, just two months of the year exceeded 40 000 units and those were the first two months, prior to lockdown regulations being put in place. However, five months of 2021 have recorded sales of more than 40 000 units, including the past four months consecutively. Market conditions are certainly improving,” Gaoaketse said.
National Automobile Dealer Association (NADA) Chairman Mark Dommisse commented that the market was holding up surprisingly well despite a number of factors that could have resulted in a slowdown.
“However, we could see December and January sales demonstrate the negative effect of the arrival of the new Covid-19 variant, as well as the huge increases in fuel prices and the impact of the weaker rand on vehicle pricing,” Dommisse cautioned.
“Dealers will need to be focussed and resourceful during what will be a testing sales period, but consumers can expect some special offers as manufacturers and distributors seek to meet annual sales targets”.
Source: Jason Woosey (IOL Motoring)